Islamic militants in Somalia have captured the town of Jowahr from a coalition of warlords, a week after driving them from the capital, Mogadishu. A curfew lasting from dusk until dawn was immediately imposed. Sharia law has been introduced and looters have been warned they will be shot on sight.
Jowhar was the last stronghold held by the warlords alliance, who were de facto rulers of Somalia for fifteen years. Medical experts at the town’s hospital say at least six people were killed during the fighting and 14 were injured. Based further north, the Somali interim Parliament has voted for the creation of an African Peacekeeping Force. But talks with the Union of Islamic courts have faltered over the issue of foreign troops being brought in, claiming they have restored order. The United States has neither confirmed nor denied reports that it backed the warlords to prevent Somalia becoming a haven for Islamic militants.